Getting the gang back together: Vicente Padilla returns for $2 million

When I first heard last week that the Dodgers were still interested in signing Vicente Padilla, I was surprised ... then not. And then I thought it was a shaky idea ... and then not.

And now comes the news that he has signed for a mere $2 million (plus incentives), pending a physical. That's just a good idea.

Padilla can be used as a spot starter (on a team that reason to worry that it might need one), as a middle reliever, and even as a set-up man and occasional closer (ideally, to provide rest for the full-time closer that is already pitching so, so well). It's a role that can be very valuable, and one that has been filled on the Dodgers at times with authority using someone like Wilson Alvarez, and less so at other times using someone like Carlos Monasterios or Jeff Weaver.

Padilla's recent health history has lowered expectations for him, and in turn his salary, but it's a good deal. He's close to the same guy who earned more than twice as much last season. He never should have been an Opening Day starter, but as an Opening Day jack-of-all-pitching trades, I'm all for it.

With Padilla and Hiroki Kuroda signing contracts below what one would think would be their market value, one might get the impression that some people find Los Angeles to be a nice place to pitch.

Coming up next ... another outfielder?